Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Creativity and innovation, a symbiotic Jedi relationship.

Art by: Warwick Johnson Cadwell
I was driving home today and heard an interview of Malcolm Gladwell, author of the Tipping Point, about his new article on innovation and creativity. I liked most of his books and I was excited to hear some insightful comments about innovation. I obsess over innovation because I have a strong preference for optimism and I believe we will invent our way out of our sustainability crisis. I was happy to confirm what I had suspected all along, innovation is not necessarily the same as creativity. Innovation, according to Gladwell, requires recognizing the recognition of how to adopt creativity to make progress. Steve Jobs was not the inventor of most, if not all, of his successful products; he was an innovator that saw what other creators could not. You have to be holistic to be creative because you have to see the missing opportunity, but you have to be even more so to be innovative because you have to apply a totality of ingenuity to create opportunity for others.

I strive to be both a creator and an innovator. I am a novice at best and a lost seeker at worst. Luckily for humanity, we are not depended on my lack of abilities.

A UT-Austin Jedi team (these guys are the real 1337) developed a new nano-structure of “negative curvature” single atom wall carbons that is porous. I suspect that creativity is symbiotic with innovators; another group from Brookhaven National Laboratory then help explained the structure

“can be incorporated into “supercapacitor” energy-storage devices with remarkably high storage capacity while retaining other attractive attributes such as superfast energy release, quick recharge time, and a lifetime of at least 10,000 charge/discharge cycles. . .. [This] will have a broad range impacts on research and technology in both energy storage and energy conversion,”

Sorry Mr. Gladwell for taking the spot light away from your keen observation, but this is great news for the sustainability enthusiasts. This will impact many different types of energy technology dissolving many of the current market barriers. This will help push further our transition from fossil based energy consumption and help us get our carbon emission under control. I sure hope to see, in my life time, an electric car charged on renewable energy capable of traveling over a thousand miles without stopping.

Click here to see the white paper published by the Brookhaven team.
The work at Brookhaven was supported by DOE’s Office of Science; the UT - Austin team’s research was supported by the Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, and the Advanced Technology Institute.

The Center for Functional Nanomaterials at Brookhaven National Laboratory is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs), premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE’s Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge and Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit http://nano.energy.gov.

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